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25 Years of Momentum in Spinal Cord Injury Research

Release Date: April 16, 2024 |  Run Time: 40:14 |  Download Episode 3 transcript

In 1995, actor Christopher Reeve was injured in a horseback riding accident, leaving him quadriplegic - paralyzed from the shoulders down. He became a tireless advocate and a passionate supporter of research.

Christopher's dream was for those living with spinal cord injuries to have a better quality of life, and one day to walk again.

More than 25 years later, thanks to advances in surgical approaches, neuroprotective drugs and gene therapy using stem cells, that dream is becoming closer to reality.

Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and everywhere else you get your podcasts.

Bonus Content: Listen to John Ruffolo's full interview about his injury, his rehab & recovery and why he feels passionate about supporting spinal cord injury research.

John Ruffolo | Run Time: 16:39 |  Download bonus content transcript


Dr. Laureen Hachem  
Dr. Laureen Hachem

Dr. Laureen Hachem is a Senior Neurosurgery Resident at UHN's Krembil Brain Institute and the University of Toronto, with an interest in spinal surgery. Her research focuses on regenerative strategies to enhance plasticity in the injured central nervous system and specifically examining mechanisms to harness the regenerative potential of endogenous stem cells after traumatic spinal cord injury.

Dr. Michael Fehlings  
Dr. Michael Fehlings

Dr. Michael Fehlings is a Neurosurgeon and Senior Scientist with UHN's Krembil Brain Institute at Toronto Western Hospital, and Vice Chair Research for the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto (U of T) as well as co-Director of the Spine Program at U of T. He also holds the Campeau-Tator Chair in Brain and Spinal Cord Research at UHN. Dr. Fehlings combines an active clinical practice in complex spinal surgery with a translationally oriented research program focused on discovering novel treatments to improve functional outcomes following spinal cord injury (SCI) and has published in prominent journals such as Nature, Nature Neuroscience, Lancet Neurology and Science Translational Medicine. Dr. Michael Fehlings has received numerous awards for his research and clinical work, including the prestigious Ryman Prize for his work enhancing the quality of life for older people (2019) and the American Spinal Injury Association Apple Award (2016 & 2022) for excellence in spinal cord injury research publishing.

John Ruffolo  
John Ruffolo

John Ruffolo is the Founder and Managing Partner of Maverix Private Equity, a private equity firm focused on technology-enabled growth and disruption investment strategies. Maverix invests in health and wellness, financial services, transportation and logistics, live, work, play and learn and retail. As an active board member in the profit and not-for-profit sectors, John works with many leading innovative organizations and has been recognized as Canada's #1 of 100 Most Powerful Business People by Canadian Business Magazine and was selected as one of Toronto's 50 Most Influential People by Toronto Life. He is currently living with a spinal cord injury.

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